Acer Aspire V5 review

A touchscreen and decent build quality can't rescue this budget laptop

Acer Aspire V5-122p
A touchscreen and decent build quality can't rescue this budget laptop

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The Acer Aspire V5-122P feels like a notebook the Taiwanese company just dashed off between high-profile Ultrabook launches and, as such, is hard to recommend.

What could have been a highly-portable touch-enabled work laptop is undone by a poor battery and some ropey usability issues.

But it isn't without its positives: the 11-inch touchscreen display is bright, sharp and works well with the Windows 8 interface. Likewise, the dimensions and weight really do make this a good portable option. We can see the Aspire V5-122P working as a secondary work computer or a first-time laptop for a student.

As you would expect, performance is adequate without being exceptional. It is mostly down to the 4GB of DDR3 RAM rather than the quad-core ULV AMD processor. And, while the V5-122P works well out-of-the-box, we wouldn't put money on exceptional longevity two or three years down the line.

We liked

As a Windows 8 machine, the Acer Aspire V5-122P sets as a goodish example. It's small and light enough to be carried around, but still packs in a touchscreen to make use of Microsoft's new UI. The LED-backlit display is sharp and responsive and, thanks to the TFT coating, boasts a good contrast ratio for consuming media.

We also found the chassis to be well built and reasonably good-looking. Aside from the slightly boxy aesthetic, the brushed-metal design means it sits as well in the boardroom as it does in the bedroom.

Despite not being an Ultrabook, it's thin enough to slide unnoticed into a bag but won't break apart after a couple of knocks on the road.

We disliked

We really felt the battery should be better in a machine like this. A three- or four-hour battery life is ultimately what we would expect, and the Acer Aspire V5-122P falls short.

We felt the biggest usability issue was the unresponsive trackpad that, on occasion, failed to register movement or mouse clicks. It can, to some extent, be circumvented by using the touchscreen, but that's hardly an excuse.

Lastly, the specs on our review model felt overwhelmingly like they would be obsolete in six months' time. This isn't exactly a cause for concern as other configurations are available, and laptops are refreshed almost biannually anyway.

However, we wouldn't be putting the Acer Aspire V5-122P in the 'future proof' section of any electronics store.

Final verdict

A laptop that could have been a solidly portable machine is let down by a below-average battery performance and some annoying usability frustrations. While it could serve as a first-time laptop or an office-supplied backup, we would advise looking at the competition first.